Frye Standard

Frye Standard is used to determine the admissibility of an expert's scientific testimony and other types of evidence, established in Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923). The test was adopted to limit evidence and expert testimony to that which could be reliable as determined by an entire field, ensuring that new methodologies first receive recognition broadly before being used. If the test is being applied to physical evidence, a court applying the Frye Standard must determine whether the method by which that evidence was obtained was generally accepted by experts in the particular field in which it belongs. For expert testimony, a court using the Frye Standard must decide whether the methodologies used by the expert witness follows the generally accepted practices of specialists in that field. 

The Frye Standard has been abandoned by many states and the federal courts in favor of the Daubert Standard, but it is still law in some states. The Frye Standard received criticism for preventing reliable technology from being used in courts just because the majority of a field has yet to adopt the technology. The Daubert Standard, adopted by the Supreme Court, broadens the considered factors to include whether the methodology has been tested, peer reviewed, the proven reliability, and standards for using such methods. This set of factors may result in a new methodology being accepted into evidence that seems to have high rates of dependability but has yet to be widely used due to its newness. For example, fingerprints took a while to gain wide use because of the techniques and resources needed to analyze fingerprints, but fingerprints are often an extremely reliable type of evidence which could pass through the Daubert Standard. 

[Last updated in December of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]